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Understanding Mythos and Logos

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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: September 26, 2005
Latest Update: September 30, 2005

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After Karen Armstrong's Battle for God

My husband, who is not a formally religious person and was not brought up to be so, said to our two-year-old cat a week ago: "your little brother is in cat heaven," because he couldn't think of how else to tell the cat that the littlest one, only a year old, had been eaten by a coyote, as he and the other two cats heard and saw the single skirmish of the attack. Cat heaven is a metaphor in the world of mythos. We have a statue of Bastet, the Egyptiona Cat Goddess. Mythos has a long history with humans. We need it, in moments when our logos (science and logic) can't answer all our questions or serve all our needs.

If these are the myths we tell our children, and even our cats or dogs, to make them feel better, what makes us think that we don't need that same mythical faith that there is some meaning to our lives?

We can believe in the spiritual that is not part of our scientific world, while at the same time believing in the logic of scientific reasoning as it pertains to the reality that we are capable of measuring and ascertaining. That doesn't mean that the mythos or spirituality we embrace doesn't bring us comfort when we experience the tragedies of daily living. We have toys and stories of Noah's ark, cherished paintings of Adam and Eve, and those are our comfort. Logos doesn't require that you give them up. But logos does require that if you want to build a bridge you'd better darned well pay attention to load and stress, and not rely on Adam and Eve for those data.

I can't help believing that all this nonsense over whether to believe creation as the Bible or some other holy book tells it or to rely on the science of evolution until a better theory replaces some of our knowledge in that area, is just a means of keeping the folks at each other's throats so they won't notice the subordination of a large portion of the subordinated workers, in this country, and all over the world. jeanne

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